The NFL isn’t too popular right now. After watching Ray Rice punch his then-fiancé and knock her unconscious, players and fans alike were disgusted. Ray Rice received a lot of negative media attention – and so did his fiancé. Janay Palmer was attacked on social media for staying with a man that could be so violent towards her. Rushing to her defense, women used the hashtag #whyistayed to share their experiences of physically and emotionally abusive relationships on Twitter.
Unfortunately for DiGiornio Pizza, the hashtag wasn’t as obvious as they thought. Known for their faux-delivery pizza, the brand delivered what they thought was a witty tweet before they were aware of the context.
— Scott Paul (@scottatslee) September 9, 2014
DiGiornio quickly realized the bad they had done and deleted the tweet after only a few minutes – but it wasn’t fast enough. Many followers were openly offended. While this mistake was larger than even their largest pizza, DiGiornio handled the situation like they assumedly toss their dough: with grace and talent.
They tweeted again, saying “A million apologies. Did not read what the hashtag was about before posting.” Then the DiGiornio Twitter team went through and apologized to every single person who expressed their outrage. Using phrases like “It was a rare mistake, but a terrible one,” “I didn’t check the hashtag before tweeting,” and of course, “I am so so sorry.”
Making genuinely sincere and personal apologies may have been the best and only way to handle this PR disaster. It’s easy to tweet a generic “I’m sorry” message. By putting in the extra time and effort to respond to every single Twitter user, DiGiornio gave their fans the attention needed to get back in their good graces. They even used “I” instead of “we” to make it more personal, as in one human to another.
DiGiornio did what they needed to do to make up for their carelessness, no matter how time-consuming it most likely was. They showed care and concern for their consumers, which is the most important consideration for any marketing maneuver. DiGiornio proved they can handle the heat of the oven and, fingers crossed, earned back customer loyalty in the process.